Motherhood comes with a lot of sacrifices. One of the things women sacrifice is their careers.
In fact, 89% of Austrian women polled admitted that the fair gender faces numerous challenges when trying to re-enter the corporate world.
While this is true, it’s still possible to get back and flourish in this new phase of your life.
Here are six tips to help you get your first job after a long hiatus.
1. Evaluate Your Career Needs
You might be absolutely certain that you want to go back to work. But that’s not the complete picture.
Here are a few questions you have to answer:
Do you want a role like the one you had?
What hours would be the most ideal?
Do you want to work from the office or remotely?
What are your salary requirements?
Having a detailed idea of what you want your re-entry to look like will go a long way into shaping the rest of the process.
You also have an advantage. You have the opportunity to reinvent yourself. If you were not particularly happy with your former career, you now have the opportunity to do something about it.
2. Beef up Your Resume
The longer you have been away from work, the larger the work gap you have to fill.
For employers, the concern is that you are a risky hire or you are out of touch with the professional world.
Your goal is to prove them otherwise.
The chronological format of resumes, for one, works against you. This is one thing to get around.
One way to do this is by highlighting your main skills and new talents so that that becomes the focal point of discussion.
A second way is by adding on to your skill set by studying a new course. Taking a project management course online, for example, is something you can do from home during the break.
This will allow you to hit the ground running when you start actively looking for a job.
3. Prepare Your Talking Points
Your career gap will likely be a key issue during your interview. It’s best to prepare for it than hope it does not come up.
While it’s important not to sound apologetic about it, preparing for this specific question in advance is important.
Acknowledge the break and pivot directly to why you’re a great fit for the position. You can highlight your academic background, your previous experience and your newly gained experiences during your break.
These can be anecdotal or about any new courses you have taken, volunteer and community work you have engaged in.
The aim here is to emphasise that you have been in touch with the corporate world to some extent. You also want to stress that you have taken action to improve your capabilities.
While sending out resumes can find most people a job; it might not be that easy when you’re relaunching your career.
The random HR guys who will review your resume have no connection to you. The career gap will stick out like a sour thumb and create a bias.
Networking gives you a better chance. By finding work through people who know you, you can significantly increase your chances of making a quick comeback.
So speak to anyone who might listen, friends, family, former bosses, former colleagues, college mates, your gym instructor, and hairdresser. Everyone.
It might also help to join local professional communities, trade associations and so on. The wider you cast your net, the higher the probability that you will find something.
5. Look for ‘Returnships’
Returnships are special programs designed for people that are going back to work after a long absence.
Such programs orient you back into the field, retrain and connect you with hiring managers. They also provide new work experience to come right after your gap on your resume.
Returnships have the same model of an internship; only you do not have to start at the bottom.
Today, there are several companies in Australia that have realised the need to have returnships and design very useful programs for moms like yourself.
6. Create a Reputable Online Presence
Recruiters are increasingly looking at candidate’s online profiles to learn more about them.
LinkedIn is a great place to start. Create a professional profile with a professional photo on it.
For your personal social media, you can activate private settings if there are personal photos and pictures you do not want seen by potential employers.
The best advice is to get started. It's easy to allow fear and apprehension to hold you back. But what if you take a different route?
Enrol for a course, join professional communities and reach out to people. The worst that could happen is that your job search might take longer than anticipated.
The best thing that might happen is that you could get a great job and transition into a working mom. You’ll never know till you try.